It’s day 25 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for men and boys, the invisible victims of domestic violence. Have you ever wondered why we view men’s violence as criminal behavior and women’s violence as mental illness? Have you ever considered the ramifications of doing so?
Male abusers are seen as bad men that women and children would do well to avoid. Female abusers are seen as “troubled,” and in need of our compassion and help. Female abuse victims are told to end their relationship with their male abusers. Male abuse victims are often told they need to learn how not to trigger their female abuser and be more sensitive, understanding and accepting of her feelings. Male abusers often go to jail. Female abusers typically go to counseling.
This is especially evident in the way a large percentage of the mental health field approaches women with Borderline Personality Disorder and their victims, which often include the spouses/partners and children of the BPD. It is one of the worst double standards in the mental health profession. These therapists are culpable for enabling domestic violence and child abuse.
I suspect many men who fit the classic male batterer/emotional abuser archetype likely have borderline, narcissistic and/or sociopathic traits, just like their female abuser counterparts. Yet, the mental health field has compassion for disordered female abusers and treats disordered male abusers as criminals. Benevolent sexism?
It’s time to hold female abusers to the same standards of accountability, including pressing criminal charges when indicated, to which we hold male abusers regardless of how shitty their childhoods may have been and/or their mental health diagnoses. A personality disorder may explain a woman’s abusive behaviors. It does not excuse them.
Today’s In His Own Words is written by MarriedtoaBPD, a man I know via my work on Shrink4Men. His wife received a sort of BPD diagnosis from a former therapist. She rejected the diagnosis, fired the therapist and has kept on with her denial, borderline rage and abuse of her husband, her children and his children from a previous marriage. MarriedtoaBPD began an anonymous blog to journal the severe emotional abuse he experiences regularly from his BPD wife. He has given me permission to share his story in order to help raise awareness for male victims of domestic violence.
Married to a BorderlineWhat you are about to read is the first time I have had anyone look at this blog. I have to admit I’m scared. I’m scared my wife is going to find this and rage on me. I’m scared because I have to lie to her and tell her I don’t think she is borderline when we fight because she will go apeshit on me.I’m mad at myself because I can’t be honest with her about this. I’m scared because her family knows she is a ‘little crazy,’ but thinks I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to her. I’m scared that if we divorce that everyone that knows her as the nice, earthy, vegan, holistic mom will think I’m a major screw, an ass and a cheater.But mostly, I’m scared for her daughters she brought into the relationship two years ago when we married. They’re 7 and 9 now and they aren’t doing well. How can you when your mom yells at you, ‘I don’t have any time for myself and it’s your fault! Why are you doing this to me? Why are you stealing my life?!’My eldest child graduated from high school this past summer. My second child will graduate in early June 2014. I plan to divorce then if things don’t change. I have mixed feelings about leaving because I don’t want her girls to turn out like their mom, with abandonment issues about men. It’s like I’m watching a runaway train careening toward the slope of puberty where it will most assuredly become a fireball of a wreck, destroying anything in its path.I am also mad at myself for being deceitful, that, as much as I need to write and share this with other men, I am hiding and keeping secrets from her. During her borderline rages, she accuses me of keeping secrets and being a liar. I insist over and over again that I’m not keeping secrets. In reality, I am keeping secrets and I am a liar, because she doesn’t know that I am in individual therapy, or publishing anything.So having said that, I seal my fate to eventually being outed. Welcome to my world.
10/18/2013. I’m sitting here with my headphones on, being called a ‘prickless little man’ by my wife. This is so frustrating.Her daughter was slamming a door because because they were fighting. Wife said she was going to take the door off its hinges. I asked what I could do to help.
In the ensuing conversation that led up to our fight, I said, ‘Sometimes it feels like the whole world is off-kilter.’
I went to the bedroom to work on some stuff and she followed. She asked why I was crying about a little girl being angry. Things started to escalate in a tone that I’ve become accustomed to. I felt like something bad was coming and said, ‘This is not what we are supposed to talk about this week.’ She continued to rant about me and the girls. I said the safe word the therapist gave us, ‘Prism.’
She got angry, came over and started insisting that I argue with her or have what I call a high-conflict engagement. I said I did not want to talk and asked her to step away. She would not leave my space on my side of the room. I said I did not want to talk again and she said I was a prickless little man and needed to stop running and hiding.
I told her I wanted to go to my private place. She continued to stand over my shoulder, insisting that I talk to her. She said that me listening to headphones and trying to disengage was making her angry and I was responsible for it. I put the headphones on and was told I was not allowed to do that.
I said I wanted to journal. She stood over my shoulder and tried to read what I was typing. I asked her to step away. I had the headphones on and had not found a song on Spottily yet, so I could hear her. She kept saying, ‘I know you can hear me. Why don’t you act like a man and talk to me?!’
I kept asking her, ‘Step away please.’ I said this five times. She would not leave my area, so I finally lowered the lid on my laptop and turned to face the wall once the music started. I listened to a song or two and then looked over my shoulder to see she had left the room. I took the laptop off the desk and turned so the screen could not be seen from the room and continued to journal.
She went down the hallway to check on the girls. She came back a few minutes later saying about her daughter, ‘I can’t even believe it’s impossible for me to touch a toothbrush without her freaking out. I can’t deal with this fucking disease or a person who fucking can’t get over it,’ and walked back out.
After a few moments, she came back into the room and started folding laundry. She said something like, ‘Why are you messing around, you know this is over, so you should just leave. You can’t stand us.’ I can’t remember it exactly because I was starting to get angry. I had removed my headphones when I saw she was not in the room and put them back on. She crossed around the foot of the bed and attempted to get a sideways glance at my computer screen. She stood on my side of the room and asked/accused, ‘Oh what lies are you writing about me now?’
I decided I wanted to leave the room. I unplugged my laptop, got up and walked to the door. She blocked my way again, ‘again’ as in she’s tried to block my egress many times before. I asked, ‘Please move.’
She did not move.
I asked again, ‘Please move, I would like to leave.’ She insisted that she didn’t have to move until I answered her questions. I asked again, for the third time, and was told I had no right to leave until she got what she needed.
I held up my right hand and started to count on my fingers how many times I was asking to leave the room. I made sure not to touch her or shove past her. I continued to ask to leave and when I got to six, I started over on the same hand. She continued to block me from leaving the room.
When I got to eight, she reached up, grabbed my hand and closed my fingers. I said, ‘I want you to stop touching me and I want to leave the room.’ I continued to say these two things as I counted on my right hand.
She taunted me, wanting to know why I was counting. I replied that I was counting so I could accurately journal how many times I had asked to leave the room and was being blocked.
She said the time to journal was when I was at work and this was not the time for it. When I got to the twelfth time I said, ‘I have asked a dozen times to leave my room and you are preventing me from moving freely and this is a right I have.’ She replied, ‘Oh I see how it is. Well you might as well start packing,’ and she finally stepped aside.
I went to the front room, sat down with my laptop and started to journal again. She followed and stood by the front door, trying to get a sideways glance of my screen again. I stood up again with my laptop and walked downstairs, so I could be alone and type. After a while, she sent me a text message. It contained a picture of a Maggie Smith quote which said, ‘Speak your mind, even if it makes your voice tremble.’ I replied, ‘When we have had the next session and our therapist says it’s time, then we can discuss. Until then, I am going to journal what is happening. Please do not text or message me. I would like some privacy please.’ She sent me three more messages:
‘You understood her wrong.’
‘If you would like a separation for a week to get away from my amazing children and I, go right ahead! That’s the only way this will work for you.’
‘Pack it up!’
Then, I was on Facebook trying to coordinate a deal for an engine and she sent a message on Facebook:
‘Hmm, you’ve ben on here a long time.’
‘Someone more interesting than me?’
10/23/2013. So right after our last couples therapy session, my wife sent me a text saying, ‘That was pretty slick.’
I replied, ‘What was slick?’
During the counseling session, the counselor asked point blank about any history of diagnosis with mental health issues. Two marriage counselors ago, we had a counselor ask if she had ever been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. My wife went into a rage about that and to this day calls that woman a quack and someone who shouldn’t have a license.
I decided to drive around and think about things. She called. I took a few minutes to ready myself, then I called back.
*Note. This is pretty overwhelming, I’m going to take a break and journal some more later.
**As an aside, I last journaled at lunch. More has happened since this afternoon and I had to leave the house this evening. I’m typing this at a Starbucks nearby.
So when I called her back, I was surprised to find out something odd. She said, ‘So I have one question to ask and I want an honest answer. Did you talk to the counselor without me there? Have you been in communication with her?’
I replied that I hadn’t and would not do that. What she said next was no surprise because this is the siren call of my wife’s BPD.
‘I know you’re lying and I can tell you have talked to her because of what she asked in counseling today.’
Absolutely, unequivocally, as soon as the words, ‘I can tell…’ have been uttered, I know I’m in for a ride on the roller coaster of emotional insanity. What is even more bizarre is the twisting that happened around the stuff our counselor told us to do.
After last week’s episode where I was prevented from leaving the bedroom, the counselor flat out told her she needs to stop preventing me from leaving. I was glad for this because it’s a small step in the right direction. The counselor told her the things she was doing would be considered abusive. This was great also.
Right now at Starbucks, she’s constantly texting and calling trying to get me to come back to the house. It’s very frustrating because she was told to leave me alone when I want space and for me to leave the house if things were feeling confrontational. I’m told I’m being ‘vicious’ right now because I said I would be home when I was done instead of coming right home when she told me to.
She is insisting I come home under the guise that I have a cold and she ‘wants to take care of me.’ I’m not sure how this will continue to roll on, but I’ve just got to be strong and ignore these rants. The only way they are eventually going to stop is if they no longer create a reaction in me.
So to back up a little bit, the reason I’m down here is that she told me the counselor said we need to be separated for two weeks. What the counselor said was that we need to separate the conflict from our relationship.
In a previous session, we also decided on a safe word to use when things got out of hand. I used that word just now in a text message response to her accusing me of being vicious because I asked her to stop. I used the word and she isn’t stopping. Now she is going on about how her shoulder is messed up and she needs to go to the chiropractor and get taken care of and why won’t I take care of her. Interesting turn from the ploy of trying to get me to come home to take care of me.
Ah yes, here they come, the staples in any borderline’s text routine, multiple question marks “???”
Now she’s calling again, but I have to honor the safe word from counseling and not break the communication or give in to the urge for her to suck me into conflict or a manufactured emergency.
In His Own Words is an effort to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Incredible. Just like my Crazy. It’s like reading/watching a movie.
I wasn’t as strong as this guy. Good for you.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
“It’s like reading/watching a HORROR movie.”
It is. I never cease to be amazed at the similarities — right down to the words they use and punctuation marks.
This is like a page or two…or three…hell all of it right out of my journal as well.
Try being in this type of marriage for 20 years…yes 20 years, I can so relate to the above, and what is worse, is that she is 12 years my senior. I can’t recall how many times, there has been one thing set her off and the shitstorm hits, I ask her nicely to stop…please stop…stop, I’m done talking, it continues, then the threats, and I beg for her to stop, there have been times I have screemed at the top of my lungs for her to stop and go away, then she blocks the door way or the bathroom to where I have tried to move myself, she will not let me out. It continues…oh god! What God…I have become so stoic and cold that I don’t even believe in a god anylonger, how could there be a god out there that is supposed to be so loving and understand to let this continue!
I want out, yet, you all know how difficult it is to get out, threats on my life, my friends, and even my co-workers…
does it ever end? Is there really life out there?
Wyatt, there is a God, and he wants you to be happy. It can be difficult to get out. I had a very long expensive divorce that cost me basically everything I’ve ever worked for and I saw very little of my children for about a year. And you know what? It was worth every penny and every bit of pain I went through. NOBODY deserves the psychological torture that these people dish out. It can be painful and costly, but at the end of the day I would not go back there for all the money in the world. We have to keep in touch because we have children, and every time she splits black I thank God that I escaped
I am mid divorce of a high functioning borderline.
I am a military man and decided to treat it like battle. I devised a plan, thought it through, practiced, then engaged the enemy, swiftly and silently.
THIS IS A SECRET MISSION AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH! THIS WAS MY BATTLE PLAN!
1. Talk to a lawyer. Have him/her ready to go through the motions at a moments notice. Be prepared to have restraining and no contact orders. It will be tough. But it is necessary. Be prepared to call 911 if necessary and DO NOT HESITATE or you may end up in jail. THIS WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF JAIL!!!!!!!!!
2. Start smuggling things you will NEED when you leave. Shoes, underwear, socks, money, etc. Small items that have an emotional attachment to you, like dads knife he gave you when you were 5. Whatever it is you will need to survive on your own. I had no furniture, a little cash and the some clothing I had slowly stashed away at my friends house over an extended amount of time. If you can buy it, buy it and stash it so it’s not missed at home. Have the expectation that you will never see any of your belongings again.
3. Find a family member or very, very close friend that you can escape to when you do go…I use escape because that is exactly what you are doing, escaping. Someone that is willing to call the police when you aren’t or are emotionally frozen.
4. Set up a PO Box to receive mail during your transition see step 5 to understand.
5. Set up your own accounts and be prepared ahead of time to have your pay go to that account. Use that PO Box to establish your new address. ENSURE YOUR ACCOUNTS ARE AT A DIFFERENT BANK. This keeps from any account errors by fat fingers at the bank and will keep you from bumping into her(You will have to be about 1-2 months ahead in your escape plan.)
6. Understand that she will talk…but it’s ok. People will start to know crazy when they see it. You MUST MAINTAIN YOUR COMPOSURE AT ALL COSTS!
7. Ensure you have a way to communicate. Pre paid cell phones at Walmart are cheap. You will need to shut off your phone very often during the turbulent times. Be prepared to leave your cellphone behind if necessary. Have all your important contact information save somewhere else. She may also track you using your GPS on your phone. STOP USING YOUR CURRENT CELL PHONE!!!!
8. If you don’t have a laptop or tablet, get one or find somewhere like an internet cafe or library where you can communicate. It is also another form of communication.
9. Remember, the enemy is always seeking intelligence with which to exploit you.
Most computer browsers can be opened in a private window that won’t save your history unless you really, really dig deep into the computer.
10. Anything that requires communication via email etc, do from an address at work to avoid any computer searches that will trigger an event.
11. Make most phone calls you need to make from work (like your attorney). Tell them to only call you at your work number.
12. Be prepared for a rapid change of passwords on ALL accounts. Email, bank, bills, etc. Save this password at work. Do not keep it in your wallet, car or anywhere at home. Ensure you use numbers, letters and/or symbols. I good technique is picking a number like 8675 then hold the shift button down to get the symbols *^&%. USE INFO THE ENEMY WON’T BE ABLE TO GUESS.
13. Support networks are a MUST! “There are no atheists in foxholes”. You are at WAR men! Rely on your faith! God knows you and God loves you. Tell your family. They must also break contact with your Borderline. If they cannot understand the disease, then you cannot share your plan and you may have to break contact with them temporarily. AT NO COST MUST THEY ENGAGE THE BORDERLINE AND THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT!
14. Leave silently and quietly. Early morning. Act like you’re going to work, call in sick. She is out shopping, make your move. Do not do it in the heat of the moment if possible, however, be prepared for plan B when you’re finally tired of her shit and you NEED to go to keep from being thrown in JAIL! NON CONFRONTATIONAL IS BEST, BUT WILL TO SURVIVE IS OK TOO!
15. Start counseling immediately during your planning phase! Use a counselor that is not connected to the counselors you may be currently using with your Borderline! Go to a completely different office! This will help you personally, keep you separate from her visits, and may help you when you end up in court. Be proactive!
16. MAINTAIN YOUR CALM PROFESSIONALISM. THIS IS A SECRET OPERATION AND YOU MUST TREAT IT AS SUCH. TRUST FEW AND COUNT ON LESS. I PROMISE YOU THAT IT WILL BE OK.
You might laugh at this, and it may sound extreme, but we have been abused for years. Counselors have blamed us, but it isn’t us, it’s them. I was pushed until I thought I was crazy! I was pushed to think I had PTSD! The only PTSD I had was from my relationship! I was pushed to use physical means to escape and learned from my mistakes and fortunately, did not end up in jail.Find the confidence you had before you connected with that Borderline! You still have it, trust me! It’s just buried deep…but when you find it, because you will, you will feel like a fucking man again! You will feel like there is a God! You will be triumphant in your battle!
Reading this has made me incredibly tense. My wife doesn’t display the exact traits as your but much of what you have described has me nodding my head. My emphathy for this writer is enormous. This type of abuse can destroy someone’s mental health. I know too well of this. Hang in there. It can only get brighter from here…….right???
Reading stories like this makes me happy and sad! Im happy people are starting to see BPD woman for what they are, but sad THEY CANT BE FIXED. Being married to a SEVERE bpd woman Ive done alot of research, and what I find doesnt give me a positive outlook. To make a long story short, my wife makes the wife in the story above look like a saint! Yes, we tried Counseling, and my wife was no longer welcome there, but he did refer her to a specialist that treats BPD woman. As Im writing this I got the usaul text from her because I took to long to text her back, so I get the ????? text, mainly I have 5 min to return all text from her or else. My advice is RUN as fast as you can from these people, as far as me? Im a shell of the confident person I once was, and I question myself everyday if I have Stockholm syndrom….I sit here with my memories of being happy and dont recognize that person anymore.
Run!! Run!! and never turn back. If you do, you will turn to a pile of salt as Issac`s wife did turning back to look at Gomora going up in flames.
There is no hope for the type of person that will not give counseling a chance.
They think they are above and beyond it….oblivious of the fact that they are the cause of sending people to get help. May God forgive them. We shall see who is looking down from heaven at the end and who is going to fry in hell.
I ran away 3 months ago…..recovery is taking time but I will never return to that street, house or area again as long as I am alive.
Run and be free to live again.
Best advice EVER for dealing with these mentally ill women (or anyone who is so crazy!)
6. Understand that she will talk…but it’s ok. People will start to know crazy when they see it. You MUST MAINTAIN YOUR COMPOSURE AT ALL COSTS!
Stay strong, everyone!
Dave Gordon says
Wow Jimmy09 – needs to be in “the married to a borderline handbook.” I am coming up on two years divorced and have finally gotten me back – my true personality, my sense of humor, etc. Yes, married to a borderline does create PTSD. I have studied high functioning BPD for many hundreds of hours in an attempt to understand. As a science person I attempt to get as much info. as is humanly possible. It all starts with Morris Massey’s – What you are is where you were when and humans have an imprinting period from birth to 6 or 7 and it can set the emotional stage in action – add in the variables of genetic components, brain chemistry and perhaps other genetic and environmental variables and this becomes the recipe for BPDs. The behaviors of all these borderlines are basically the same such that men I have talked about BPD will tell stories, I tell stories and their reply – “Were we married to the same woman?” The abuse kids go through in the imprinting period seems to create defensive mechanisms some conscious and some unconscious (my opinion) and I believe that some of their behaviors are not remembered and/or are so skewed that in their minds they have done nothing wrong – hence, their inability to admitting they need any kind of counseling. A vicious cycle. Don’t know where professionals can go with this and if there is any way at all to reshape someone’s imprinting period to bring them into a normal emotional range.
Unfortunately, things continue to get worse – so I would suggest that people follow this battle/game plan. And sadly, it probably is the only way to restore our own mental and physical health. Good luck everyone – we are all in various stages – get away from the dark side as soon as you can. Get well my friends.
Your comment that they are “so skewed that in their minds they have done nothing wrong” really rings true about my ex. For years, I listened naively to her tell me how, while growing up, her older brother tortured and mistreated her for no reason, that she never, ever did anything wrong to him. After listening to this BS for years, I finally said I didn’t believe it. Having kids, I finally learned that this was simply impossible, and told her so. Nevertheless, she continued that same old line for years. Then, once while attending a family get together on her side, I finally decided to ask her brother about their relationship. I was shocked to hear his side of things. Contrary to what I had been repeatedly told ad nauseum, I realized for the first time that he was a pretty good guy, and his memory of their childhood was vastly different from hers. Alas–I wish that were the only instance of her craziness.
This site has been a solid source of inspiration for me ever since I recognised that something wasn’t just ‘not quite right’ but ‘very wrong indeed’ with the way my relationship with my ex was going and I realised that I had become a shadow of my former self. Many of the traits described in any of the posts on this site are applicable to my ex, and while I’m not qualified to make any diagnoses, I’m confident enough in my observations to determine that I was facing the maelstrom which is BPD/NPD/HCP and the behavioural traits associated with it, starting with jealousy, migrating to an ‘oopsie’ when hoovered into a reconciliation and finally the full on upheaval of attempting to maintain the great relationship I had developed with my children after the inevitable breakup after realising what was really behind my ex’s behaviour. I sought the help of a good therapist who specialises in personality disorders and began the long process of healing, which I’m pleased to say helped me enormously and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone casually exploring this site. I’ve oversimplified the twists and turns of the abusive relationship, not because I’ve forgotten what it was like to be with this woman (mainly because she still attempts to reek havoc) but because I have an observational question I have for the forum: Why are multiple question/exclamation marks are used by these types of people? I suspect it’s designed to reinforce the importance of the point being made because their point is sooooo much more important than the English language can cater for in it’s normal format, or that they simply can’t convey HOW F*CKING ANGRY THEY ARE WITHOUT BEING SHOUTY BY TYPING IN CAPITALS! Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter???????????? 😉
Itza Sekret says
Well, yeah. Regarding your question, was just talking about this very subject last nite, and the fact that many partners of BP/NP/HCP have gotten the “?!?!?!??!?” or “???????” txt hundreds of times. I suspect it’s an honest revalation – “She” is Puzzled, Lost, Impatient, Incredulous, & Angry that “we” have not hit the “InstantReplyToHerHighness” button on our phone to Immediately Respond to Her Very Important Communication (Needyness), and that maybe, just maybe, we might have the temerity to disagree with whatever point She’s trying to make. If I ever see 3 “???” on my phone now, I think…. “nutso”.